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Bob Iger Says Disney Would Have Combined With Apple if Steve Jobs Were Still Alive

Bob IgerSimon Weisenthal Gala honoring Bob
Michael Buckner/Variety/REX/Shut

Disney and Apple are both launching their own streaming services come November, but Disney CEO Bob Iger says the two companies weren’t always on competing paths.

In an excerpt from his autobiography published Wednesday in Vanity Fair, Iger revealed that Disney and Apple likely would have merged if Steve Jobs hadn’t died in 2011. “I believe that if Steve were still alive, we would have combined our companies, or at least discussed the possibility very seriously,” Iger wrote.

The excerpt comes from his new book “The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons From 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company,” which details Iger’s close relationship with Apple co-founder Jobs in addition to the breakdown of relations between Disney and Apple prior to Iger’s leadership position. According to Iger, previous CEO Michael Eisner effectively ruined the company’s relationship with Jobs by destroying Pixar’s partnership with Disney.

“In January 2004, Steve made a very public, in-your-face announcement that he would never deal with Disney again,” Iger wrote.

Relying on his friendship, Iger took the next year rebuilding Job’s trust in Disney. And in October 2005, the two of them stood “onstage together at the Apple launch and announced that five Disney shows — including two of the most popular on TV, ‘Desperate Housewives’ and ‘Lost’ — would now be available for download on iTunes.” It was a small deal made between friends that would lead to a much bigger deal, Disney’s acquisition of Pixar for $7.4 billion, as well as a seat for Jobs on the Disney board.

“With every success the company has had since Steve’s death, there’s always a moment in the midst of my excitement when I think, ‘I wish Steve could be here for this,'” Iger wrote.